Today we’re escaping for the weekend with my author friend, Lisa Belcastro, to the gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, USA. A place I’d love to visit! Lisa is giving us a tour of her home town and sharing her island paradise with us. Enjoy!
Take a Presidential Vacation on Martha’s Vineyard
By Lisa Belcastro
I’m blessed to live on Martha’s Vineyard. While thousands flock here in the summer, including President Obama, a few of us brave the cold winters and enjoy the beauty of the Island twelve months a year. We have very few guests in January, but then June rolls around and folks start asking if we’ve got an extra bedroom or two.
When friends arrive for a weekend, we have a list of must-do warm weather activities. No visit would be complete without a trip to one of our sandy beaches. We all load into my SUV and head Up Island to Aquinnah to my favorite beach and the Gay Head Lighthouse. The beach is sandwiched between the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic and Aquinnah’s magnificent clay cliffs, which vary in colors and striations and star in many a tourist’s picture. It truly is paradise.
On the way home we’ll detour through downtown Edgartown for a drive-by of the historic captain’s homes, the Whaling Church, and the quaint shops and restaurants that line the streets. After an outdoor shower, complete with hot and cold running water, we’re in the garden picking vegetables and then it’s time to pack a cooler, load the grill and head out for a sunset beach picnic. The fishing town of Menemsha is the best, and most famous, location to the watch the sunset. We arrive at 5 pm to be sure to get a parking spot, and walk to the fish market to purchase the daily fresh catch and some lobsters to cook on the grill while the evening sky is painted in shades of oranges, blues and pinks. Beach picnics are my most favorite summer activity.
The busiest week in August starts on the third Wednesday of the month with Illumination Night in the M.V. Camp Meeting Association’s gingerbread cottages. These beautiful and unique homes are crafted with intricate designs, themes, and colors, and form circles around the large Tabernacle.
The Campground was founded in 1835 as a Methodist summer meeting location. Hundreds of families pitched tents and gathered in July and August for church services held day and night. Today there are over three hundred cottages, and come Illumination Night they are decorated with paper lanterns of every imaginable size and shape. Crowds walk the paths or spread out blankets on the green, listening to the band play and singing along to the music while we wait for the lanterns to be illuminated at 9 pm.
The M.V. Agricultural Fair opens at 1 pm on Thursday, when Islanders race into the Ag Hall to find out if their entry won a ribbon or award. We often go to the Fair all four days, enjoying the rides, animals, exhibits, and food. It’s a country fair, small in size, but large in fun.
The unofficial end of summer seems to be marked by the annual Oak Bluffs Fireworks on Friday night. Hundreds of families spread out on the green grass of Ocean Park and watch the amazing light show. This year I’ll be sailing in the harbor on the Alabama, the sister ship to the schooner Shenandoah that is the primary location for my latest novel, Shenandoah Dreams. Can’t wait!
I’ve shared a glimpse of the magical Island I call home. There is so much more to see and do, but what we’ve outlined here would be one fantastic weekend. Call me if you decide to explore my bit of Heaven on earth.
LISA BELCASTRO lives with her family on island of Martha’s Vineyard. She writes inspirational romances set on the Island and the surrounding waters. She loves chocolate, reading, writing, running, working in her gardens, including weeding, and almost all outdoor activities — as long as the temperature is above sixty degrees! Being on or near the water is pure joy for her, and she is so happy the warmer weather has arrived.
When she’s not at her desk working on her next novel or writing the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine, Lisa is volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, gardening, training for her first 50-mile road race, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.
“It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream,” Melissa Smith whispers as her eyes focus on the two men standing before her. She lives in the twenty-first century. She is chaperoning her sixth-grade students on an educational sailing trip. They are not visiting Plimoth Plantation, or the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They are sailing over the waters of the Vineyard Sound around the island of Martha’s Vineyard. So the men before her, dressed as though they’ve stepped off the set of a movie about the American Revolutionary War, cannot possibly be real. She’s dreaming. She will wake up.
But can a dream man touch her and send bolts of electricity through her veins and ignite a fire in her heart the likes of which she’s never felt before? Can a dream man serve her food that tastes divine? Can a dream lasts for weeks on end?
And if she’s not dreaming, then she’s traveled back in time, which is impossible. But here she is, in 1770, uncertain how she arrived, how she’ll get home, and if her heart could bare to be parted from Captain Isaiah Reed. Only time will tell if Melissa is given a chance at love with Isaiah or swept forward once again to her previous life.